Gatepost Interview: Sara Mulkeen, Web Content Coordinator
By Shelby Wood
Please provide a brief summary of your resume and educational background.
I graduated from Framingham State in 2010. I was an English major with a concentration in journalism. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I came here, but I took Desmond McCarthy’s Introduction to Journalism class the second semester of my freshman year and I really fell in love with journalism and stuck with it the whole time.
I did an internship with the MetroWest Daily News my senior year with Liz Banks. She was in charge of the Marlborough office of the MetroWest Daily News when I was a senior, so I went there and got some experience. I was kind of a general assignment reporter who covered everything from breaking news, features and lots of fun stuff with great experience working in the newsroom there. Also, I did another internship on campus at the Alumni Relations Office. I was the publications intern, so I did put together a lot of the biannual alumni magazine. That was also great because I got magazine and newspaper experience.
When I graduated, I probably spent six months looking for my job. I sent out tons and tons of resumes and cover letters and I found that a lot of the openings for the recent grads who were English majors and had really good writing skills were in Internet marketing and search engine optimization. So I worked at a few Internet marketing companies for my first couple of years in the workforce – writing articles and press releases that were optimized for search engines – so if I posted them on clients’ websites or sent out a press release they would have these key words that would help boost them to the top ranking if someone was looking for one of their products. I liked that a lot, but I decided I wanted to go back to traditional journalism. I missed kind of the adrenaline rush of covering breaking news. ... Eventually, something opened up there and I go to be the editor of The Westborough News,
which is a weekly paper that comes out every Friday. When I was there, I was kind of a one-woman show. I did all the reporting and all the editing. I put the whole paper together every Thursday – kind of what you guys do with The Gatepost. I got to cover a lot of great stuff about the town government, to covering breaking news to murders. I got a little bit of everything. I had no intention of leaving my job, but I saw a posting at Framingham State that came up last fall. I applied on a whim. ... Robin Robinson, Director of Education Technology and Support, got right back to me and asked me to come in for an interview, so now I am the Web Content Coordinator.
What do you do at FSU?
Right now, I’m kind of holding down the web fort. We lost one of our developers, who was our only developer, so I now kind of do everything from training faculty on how to use the content management system, getting everything up online as far as news stories, photos and interactive media. We are also planning on going through a website redesign starting this summer, and I’m going to have a big hand in that.
What was your favorite course in college?
I think my favorite course in college was Dr. McCarthy’s News Writing. It kind of forced you to put yourself in situations that you maybe didn’t want to be in as far as doing something like covering an SGA meeting or doing something at the time you weren’t totally comfortable with, but then once you got into the workforce, you were like, “Oh my God – thank God I did that!”
What was your best undergraduate experience?
I really loved all the extracurricular activities that I was a part of. I played softball my first three years, and then I did Gatepost my last year and a half, so I kind of got the best of both worlds by doing something that would help me build a portfolio, but also something that just helped me make tons of friends here and get involved with school.
What course do you think students should take before they graduate?
I think every student should take some sort of computing class. I think there is a basic HTML class. Do as I say, not as I do, because I didn’t take that class and it’s something that I really wish that I did. Once I got into the workforce, I realized how they expected you to have more technology skills than what I graduated with.
Do you have any hobbies?
In my spare time, I love to read. I have a Rottweiler named Manny, who I take on hikes and nature walks. I like to ski and do all sorts of water sports.
Are you currently working on any projects?
The website redesign is probably the biggest project going on right now – we’re just starting to kick it off. We are looking to hire a design firm to move to a responsive design, which will make our website flexible so that if someone is looking at it on a tablet or an iPhone, it’s always going to St their screen.
What advice do you have for incoming students?
I’d say get involved as much as possible. I think that anyone can go to any college, but the experience is what they make of it. I had realized that once I was working at jobs where all of my same-level peers might have gone to Harvard or Columbia, and we were all making the same amount of money and doing the same thing because when I was here, instead of going through the motions of classes and everything, I got involved in The Gatepost and internships that grew my resume. You can do whatever you want. It doesn’t matter where you go.